Oh what a wonderful welcomed sight! After indulging in a shopping spree for 5 hours , I tug and haul my bags filled with goodies to the shopping mall entrance and hail the first taxi in sight.
“Ya… mana pegi” … the taxi driver asks.
“Brickfields, Jalan Brinjal. Can?”
“Now time is 5pm, Brickfields got jam. Office hour rush, people go home. No la, cannot.”
There goes the taxi, speeding off into the approaching dusk with Starship Enterprise warp speed.
Okay, fine, great, never mind. There are other taxis coming.
Wave, wave…next taxi… hello!
“Cik, mana pergi?”
“Brickfields, Jalan Brinjal, only 15 kms from here.”
“Brickfields, cannot la. Next trip go Seri Kembangan, not convenient Brickfields then Seri Kembangan.” Speeds off without even a short bye bye.
This is really great. Taxi drivers in Malaysia I reckoned, are a privileged lot. First, they get to choose whom they want to ferry. No mood? Not convenient? Then won’t take you as a passenger, why don’t you try another taxi?
Also, they can “opt” to turn off their meters. This taxi does not use meter! We bargain price la.
I remember when I had to take a taxi from Pudu bus station to Petaling Jaya to go home. The driving distance is about 15 kms from my starting point to my destination point. It was such a “fantastic experience”, and I even got some exercise in the process!Carrying my 4 kg backpack, and 2 hand luggage weighing about 5 tons, I exited from the bus station and walked to the nearest taxi parked at the roadside.
“How much to Petaling Jaya?”
“25 ringgit. Very cheap.”
No way it’s cheap! Normally will cost only about rm10 or 14. Right. Heaving the 5 ton luggage up and sighing to myself, I walked another 500 meters to another waiting taxi. This taxi was located around the corner of the bus station building, out of sight of emerging potential customers and located a bit further from the main road.
“Hi. How much taxi to Petaling Jaya?”
“Ringgit 18. Put luggage in. I help you.”
“RM15 boleh ka?”
“Okay boleh… tapi this 1 time only. So cheap cannot recover cost also.”
Getting into the taxi, I looked forward to a comfortable ride home, after travelling in the bus for almost 5 hours.
“Hooi! This fellow drive ah, stupid … so slow! ” The taxi driver honks at him “Toooot Toot!!” The small little kancil car in front of him was moving along at a very reasonable, within-legal-limit speed of about 60km/hour.
Mr Malaysian Taxi Driver of the Year twists his steering wheel aggressively about 360 degrees to the right and steers his taxi out to overtake the car in front, pressing very hard on the accelerator. He overtakes the car in front and cuts back to the left in front of the so-called slow moving car. Honks his car horn twice more for good measure “Tooottt, Toottt Toootttt!!” Bellows at me “Move so slow! Don’t know if he got licence one!”
Sweating profusely by now, I grip the car seat very tightly and prayed for a safe journey home.
It seems that after much talk and letters to the press ( I read some letters in some newspapers a few times), or even complaints to the government, nothing much has been done about taxi drivers in Malaysia, the industry, or professionalism in the industry. What a contrast to taxi drivers in other countries; not western countries, but closer, in our neighbouring countries.
I tried to do some research, to see if we can actually file any complaints anywhere at all, if we happen to run into any errant taxi drivers. Found a link to the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (Lembaga Pelesenan Kenderaan Perdagangan). They are a board under the Ministry of Entrepreneur & Cooperative Development.
Here is the link for e-duan form:
Or go to Ministry of Entrepreneur & Cooperative Development website and click in sequence:
Laman Utama eServis MECD LPKP e-aduan
Wonder if this is useful? Anyways, the tourism industry is a growing industry contributing a large part to the economy. Imagine if repeat tourists to the country continually run into nightmare Malaysian taxi drivers who seem to be in an unregulated industry. This is my tiny little take on taxi drivers.